Great Reader Tips: Packing Cubes, Sink Clogs, Cooking Spray, BBQ Grill Cover

Over the years, I’ve done it a dozen times if I done it once—toss out the clear vinyl zipper bags that come with sheets and blankets. Today’s first great reader tip makes me wish I’d not done that. For sure, I’ll never do it again.

FREE PACKING CUBES. I reuse the clear vinyl zipper bags of various sizes, which come with blankets, linens and some sports apparel brands, to pack for travel. They work as well or better than the pricey packing cubes that are available since they offer a clear view of the contents. I’ve saved many over the years and can pack items by category or pack individual outfits. Packing in the vinyl bags protects the items, (moisture barrier) prevents wrinkles, facilitates potential security searches at airports, keeps the suitcase or duffle organized and makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, thus reducing stress during travel! My husband is a recent convert to this strategy, which made “luggage management” during a recent trip to Spain much easier! Alicia

CLOG-FREE HOLIDAYS. Every year, my mom would clog the garbage disposer when she peeled the potatoes for Hanukkah latkes. It was as much a tradition as candles and gelt. We thought it was just a quirk of her sink, but recently I read that grinding potato peels in the disposer turns them into a mashed-like mass that’s almost guaranteed to clog your drains. An easy solution is to line your sink with newspaper or paper towels, peel the potatoes onto the paper, and then chuck the whole thing in the compost heap or trash. Mitch

COOKING SPRAY’S MANY USES. I’m a big fan of aerosol cooking spray has more uses than simply spraying sheet pans and muffin tins to prevent food from sticking (I get the cheapest, generic brand I can find).

  • De-ice the freezer. Once I defrost my freezer, I spray down the walls with cooking spray. Next time the ice just glide off the walls.
  • Improve knife action. Before chopping onions, garlic, vegetables or cheese, I spray the knife blade with cooking spray. Nothing sticks!
  • Ditto for cheese grater. I spray the cheese grater down as well. Makes clean-up a cinch.
  • Prevent stains on plastic. I’ve discovered that when I spray a plastic container like Tupperware with cooking spray before pouring in tomato sauce or other staining foods, food just slides out to be reheated and my containers remain relatively stain-free, too. Maggie

BBQ COVER. This year I figured out how to protect my outdoor barbecue grill without sacrificing my wallet. Instead of throwing out the old vinyl tablecloth, that after so many summers of use was ready for the landfill, I folded it in half and sewed up the sides. It made a great cover for the grill. I figure that in it’s new use, I’ll get at least a few more years of use out of that old tablecloth. Paula

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1 reply
  1. Cathy Contino says:

    re: clog free holidays, I don’t put anything in my disposal beyond small things. I like the idea of newspapers but we don’t get the paper. I use grocery bags or just peel into the trash can. It’s not fun to have to wash dishes in the bathroom when your sink is out of commission.


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